Nov 17, 2017

House Approves Tax Bill: Senate Tax Bill Now Out of Committee

Tax Calculator

In the U.S. House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( H.R. 1) (the Act) was approved by a vote of 227-205 yesterday. The legislation lowers the top corporate rate of 35 percent to a flat 20 percent. On the individual side, the bill would collapse the existing seven income tax brackets to four with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent, and would roughly double the standard deduction. The Act would also limit home mortgage interest deductions, cap state, and local property tax deductions and eliminate deductions for other state and local taxes, and double the… Read more


Nov 16, 2017

Senate Adds Repeal of Individual Mandate to Its Tax Bill: Will This Change Doom the Bill’s Passage?

Health Care Law Binder

Over the past few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have been working independently on tax bills. While these bills have included some health care related changes, the latest version of the Senate bill now includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. This addition provides funding for the tax breaks included in the bill and will allow the Senate Republicans to eliminate at least a small portion of the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that eliminating the individual mandate will reduce the federal deficit by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period. However, eliminating… Read more


Oct 13, 2017

One-Two Punch to the ACA: First An Executive Order, Now Trump Halts Cost Subsidies to Health Insurers

Healthcare

Late yesterday, the White House stated that it would immediately stop the funding for billions of dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The explanation is that, based on guidance from the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined there is no appropriation for the payments and the government can’t lawfully make the payments. HHS was more specific, saying the payments “will be discontinued immediately” and citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Seema Verma,… Read more


Oct 13, 2017

Executive Order Could Weaken ACA, Create Association Health Plans

Association Health Plan: Doctor

President Trump Takes Steps When Senate Won’t President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that potentially weakens the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As quoted by the White House Press Office “The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.” Association Health Plans The Order is intended to allow employers to join together to form “association health plans” that can cross state lines. The Order also calls for expanded availability for lower cost, short-term policies, and increased use of… Read more


Sep 26, 2017

ACA Repeal and Replace – Now DOA in the Senate

Senate Passes Tax Reform

The Senate Republicans admitted defeat for the latest version of the “repeal and replace” bill. “We don’t have the votes,” bill co-sponsor Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters in Washington. “We’ve made the decision, since we don’t have the votes, we’ll postpone that vote.” This means that the Senate will not vote before Saturday’s deadline to use the budget “reconciliation” process to pass a GOP-only bill. When Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine added her opposition to that of GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky, it was enough to doom the bill in the Senate…. Read more


Sep 25, 2017

Senate’s Repeal and Replace Bill May Be Dead on Arrival

Flatline

Senate Republican leaders may not be able to muster the votes needed to pass the latest version of “repeal and replace,” after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) said she couldn’t envision voting for the bill. “It’s very difficult for me to imagine a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Ms. Collins said Sunday on CNN. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY.) has also outlined tough demands to secure his vote on this bill. As a reminder, the Senate Republicans are attempting to pass this bill under the “reconciliation” process, needing only Republican votes to pass. As with prior attempts,… Read more


Sep 21, 2017

Senate’s Last “Gasp” Effort to Repeal and Replace the ACA

Health Care Reform

Republicans are making a last “gasp” effort to pass “repeal and replace” legislation in the Senate, before the “reconciliation” clock runs out. A new health care “repeal and replace” bill, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), and others will be slated for a vote next week. This bill, like earlier Senate versions, would repeal the employer and individual mandate, and eliminate others taxes such as the medical device tax. It’s most controversial provision relates to how the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the states’ premium support subsidies will be allocated. The bill provides… Read more


Aug 3, 2017

Recent Cyber Insurance Decision Rejects Claim for Computer Fraud

are you covered?

A federal judge in Michigan recently granted summary judgment to Travelers in American Tooling Center, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, Case No. 16-12108, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.  That decision interpreted the “computer fraud” provision of Travelers’ insurance policy, finding no coverage for the insured for the losses claimed. The basic facts were that American Tooling asked its vendor in China, YiFeng, for all outstanding invoices by email. American Tooling received a response by email, from an account that looked very much like the YiFeng account, and which directed American Tooling to send… Read more


Jul 30, 2017

Skinny Reform Failed- Is Health Care Reform Dead, or Just on Life Support?

Taking Vitals

In a late night session ending at 1:30 a.m. on Friday,  the Republicans’ seven-year promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appeared to end, at least for the time being. John McCain, who dramatically returned to Washington to vote on health care reform after his brain cancer diagnosis, voted “No” on skinny repeal, sending the bill to defeat by a one-vote margin. The ACA will remain in place—at least for now—but there are huge questions about how the Trump administration will handle key aspects of the law, as deadlines loom for insurers’ decisions about next year. President Trump has… Read more


Jul 27, 2017

Senate “Repeal” Failed, Now Try “Skinny” Repeal of Obamacare

US Capitol Building

Yesterday, the “repeal bill” known as the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) failed to win enough votes for passage, losing 45-55. Now, Republican Senators will try to pass what has been dubbed a “skinny repeal” bill that will eliminate the mandates for employers and individuals to maintain health coverage, and potentially roll back medical device and other corporate taxes. The exact bill has not yet been crafted, but many Republicans appear to be determined to find some way to keep the health care debate alive. As stated by Senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), “we need an outcome, and if a so-called… Read more